The holiday season is here and all the excitement that comes with it: The parties! The shopping! The buffets! It's all over so quickly, but there's one thing I can count on to be with me even after the season has ended, something that will remind me of the holidays long after the tree has been unceremoniously thrown to the curb and the last piece of gingerbread has been inhaled.
I'm talking of course, about all those bad Christmas gifts.
It's not that I'm ungrateful - I'm definitely from the 'It's The Thought That Counts' camp when it comes to gifts. It's just that I can't help but feel bad for the tree that had to die in order to make those wooden boxes adorned with cat portraits that I got one year, or the underage Thai children that worked at a knitting machine for hours to turn out that beaded, sequined, mauve vest a friend gave me.
So I thought as a service to anyone in the midst of their shopping this year I would put together a gift guide, something to help you figure out what not to buy this holiday season in the hopes that your gift won't end up in the back of someone else's closet only to be re-gifted to you for your birthday in two years. Happy shopping!
1. Try to avoid giving those huge gift baskets of cheese and salami to anyone on a diet, or twenty-pound bags of Starbucks coffee to someone trying to cut their caffeine intake. However, if you've already purchased these items, I'll be happy to take them off your hands.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2. By the same token, never give a vial of live Ebola virus to a hypochondriac.
3. Don't give gifts 'for the baby' to a pregnant woman. This will only breed resentment towards the unborn child because what the mother-to-be really wants are some nice bath products or a gift card to an all-night donut shop. There'll be plenty of time for resentment once the baby is born.
4. Additionally, absolutely never gifts 'for the baby' if you're not certain the woman is pregnant. If it turns out she has just put on a little weight you can just kiss that friendship goodbye.
5. Stay away from pet-themed gifts unless you know that the recipient is a dog fanatic or subscribes to Cat Fancy magazine. I have a friend who gave me cat gifts for Christmas and birthdays for three years straight. Earrings with cats, cat necklaces, cat stationery, even a fly swatter with a felt cat on it. The sheer awfulness boggled the mind. While we had a cat we loved, I never considered myself a 'cat person,' one of those people who wears huge sweatshirts with sparkly, appliquéd cats on the front and who always signs their name with a little paw print next to it.
6. When giving an item of clothing to a female friend, never buy it in her actual size, always at least two sizes smaller than she wears even if you know it will be an inconvenience for her to return it. She will think you see her as thin, which is important to all good friendships.
7. It is never a good idea to give suggestive pictures of yourself to your husband for Christmas, as this may cause some uncomfortable moments during the big family gift exchange. Plus, it can be crushing when your niece asks, "Are those pictures of Grandpa Earl?"
8. Don't give movies unless you are certain of the recipients tastes. It's fine, for instance, to give a Super Deluxe Gold Re-mastered Pantomimed Edition of The Lord Of The Rings if you know that the person is a fan of the movie. But buying someone a DVD because you've "watched it at least fifty times" is not a good reason, and you may be shocked to discover that not everyone thinks Patch Adams is a cinematic masterpiece.
9. The same rule applies to books. They are not a good gift choice unless you know the person very well, or are trying to date them in which case remember to only buy books that greatly exaggerate your intelligence and knowledge base. Art Of The French Renaissance will get you considerably more action than Garfield: Survival of the Fattest.
10. Never give anything that can't be quickly recovered from the closet and put on display whenever you come over. It's unfair to expect your friend to haul out that life-size panda wall clock you gave her whenever you decide to drop by for a visit. At least that small vase made out of walnut shells can be brought out from behind the books at the last minute. Be considerate.
11. Try not to give expensive gifts to your neighbors. They will perceive you as being rich and will constantly be over to ask for things, like a cup of sugar or some gold bullion bars.
12. It is dishonest to give someone a gift you know they won't use because you are secretly hoping they'll turn around and say, "Oh, I'll never use this. Here - you take it." Like giving a friend who never cooks an expensive enameled sauté pan. Not that I've ever done that. I'm just saying.
13, Avoid stereotypical ethnic gifts. It annoys the hell out me when someone gives me a pair of chopsticks, or a toothpick-holder shaped like a rickshaw, or a 3-disc bundle of all the Karate Kid movies. If you feel you really can't help yourself from buying these types of gifts, try not to preface them with statements such as, "I wanted to give you something from your motherland" or "Your people sure know how to kung-fu."
14. Unless you are very close to the person you are giving to, never hand them a gift and say, "I know you're going to love this. I bought ten of them for myself." It is a 100% certainty that they will hate it, and then question your taste for all eternity.
tags: i love christmas | reasons to buy gift cards | it's the thought that counts